TRENTON – NJSave, an online portal aimed at streamlining the benefit application process for aging and disabled residents, received top honors by a national organization dedicated to increasing outreach and services for those populations.
The Division of Aging Services (DoAS) of the New Jersey Department of Human Services won first place in a national innovation competition for its online portal for NJSave.
DoAS received the Innovations in Benefits Outreach Contest Award from The National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities and The National Council on Aging for effective and creative outreach in assisting financially vulnerable persons with disabilities and older adults enroll in benefit programs.
Since launching in November, NJSave has received almost 2,500 online applications, with about 35 percent submitted with the assistance of a family member, friend or social worker.
“The Murphy Administration is committed to making it easier for New Jersey’s aging and disabled residents to get the services they need,” New Jersey Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson said. “This national recognition of the work of Human Services’ Aging team and Aging Division Director Louise Rush is a testament to that commitment.”
The contest was designed to identify promising outreach strategies.
“New Jersey designed and launched NJSave, an online application to help low-income older adults and individuals with disabilities save on medical care, prescriptions, and other living expenses. New Jersey’s online portal and outreach strategy provides an opportunity to educate and reach more eligible individuals and increase enrollment in benefit programs,” according to the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities
In November 2018, Human Services launched NJSave to help older residents with low incomes and individuals with disabilities save money on Medicare premiums, prescription costs, and other living expenses
NJSave allows individuals to check their eligibility and apply for various savings and assistance programs, such as the Medicare Savings Programs, New Jersey’s Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled, and the Lifeline Utility Assistance Program, through just one online application. Before this, individuals had to fill out a paper eligibility application for the various programs.
As part of the outreach efforts, the Division of Aging Services produced and distributed NJSave posters, flyers, tabletop signs, counselling folders, referral cards, and promotional materials.
Mailings highlighting NJSave and paper applications for those not able to apply online have been distributed to aging and disability network partners as well as pharmacies, hospitals, senior centers, public housing, libraries, as well as county offices on aging and disability services.
Aging Services staff and partners have conducted nearly 50 presentations to community groups and leaders about the NJSave opportunity.
“I am proud of our staff and all of the innovative and creative thinking that went into this award-winning initiative,” said DoAS Director Louise Rush. “Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for people to get the benefits they need.”
More information on NJSave, including a full list of programs accessed through the application, is available here.